Reducing the Harms of Marijuana Prohibition

Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. Nearly half of all drug arrests each year are for marijuana-related offenses, the overwhelming majority of which are for personal possession. These arrests fall disproportionately on blacks and Latinos, even though white people use marijuana at similar rates. Many of those who are arrested are saddled with a criminal conviction that can make it difficult or impossible to vote, obtain educational loans, get a job, secure housing, or even adopt a child. Additionally, the huge number of marijuana arrests each year usurps scarce law enforcement, criminal justice, and treatment resources at enormous cost to U.S. taxpayers.
 
The Drug Policy Alliance works to reduce the number of marijuana related arrests and associated penalties through crafting and advocating for legislation removing or reducing criminal penalties, initiatives making marijuana arrests the lowest law enforcement priority, and community based policy changes.  
 
DPA also works to expose and reduce rampant, system-wide racial disparities in marijuana arrests. DPA has released reports documenting and detailing chilling disparities in New York City and across California and continues to raise awareness about the unique burden U.S. marijuana policy places on black and Latino communities.
 
Marijuana prohibition has also caused incalculable violence and destruction by fostering an illegal marijuana market.  Organized crime, drug cartels, and gangs are the greatest financial beneficiaries of marijuana prohibition. In Mexico, illegal marijuana sales have contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

Teen Marijuana Use Declines As Country Moves Toward Marijuana Legalization

National Institute on Drug Abuse’s 2014 ‘Monitoring the Future’ Survey Finds E-Cigarette Use Now Greater than Cigarette Use Among Teens

The federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse released its annual Monitoring the Future survey today. Monitoring the Future is now in its 40th year and is considered the ‘gold standard’ of teen drug use surveys. It surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade in schools nationwide about their use of alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and cigarettes.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Jerry Otero 718-664-7420

HISTORIC VICTORY: Congress Prohibits Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws

Top Congressional Leaders Side with States on Hemp Research and Medical Marijuana
 
Provisions on D.C. Marijuana Legalization Remain Unclear: Advocates Say Any Congressional Interference with Law that Passed with 70% Support is Outrageous

The final “must pass” federal spending bill that Congress will consider this week, also known as the “cromnibus,”and released by senior appropriators last night includes an amendment that prohibits the U.S. Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. The spending bill also includes a bipartisan amendment that prohibits the DEA from blocking implementation of a federal law passed last year by Congress that allows hemp cultivation for academic and agricultural research purposes in states that allow it.

Contact: Tony Newman (646-335-5384) or Michael Collins (404-539-6437)

Washington D.C. Takes Major Step Toward Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

Panel of Councilmembers Approves Legislation that Would Establish Licensing and Regulation of Marijuana in the Nation’s Capital

Council Acts Just Weeks After Nearly 70 Percent of D.C. Voters Approved Ballot Measure Legalizing Marijuana

D.C. lawmakers voted today in favor of legislation that would legally regulate and license the production, distribution and sale of marijuana in the District of Columbia during a meeting of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which is chaired by D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At Large).

Contact:  Grant Smith, 202-669-6573 or Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

NYPD Poised to Stop Wasteful Low-Level Marijuana Possession Arrests; Individuals Would Instead be Ticketed and Ordered to Court

Advocates Cautiously Optimistic, But Key Questions and Concerns Remain
 
Announcement Follows Two Recent Developments: A Report Showing NYPD Is Making More Discriminatory Marijuana Possession Arrests Under de Blasio/Bratton than Bloomberg/Kelly and a Federal Court Ruling Allowing Stop and Frisk Remedies to Proceed in NYC

Contact:

Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264

Voters Overwhelmingly Approve End to Criminal Marijuana Penalties in New Mexico's Santa Fe and Bernalillo Counties

First Time in New Mexico History People Vote on Marijuana Reform

ALBUQUERQUE – Today, New Mexicans took a historic vote on marijuana policy reform. Voters in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County have voiced overwhelming support for marijuana decriminalization.  Both the Santa Fe and Bernalillo County ballots asked voters whether they supported decriminalization of 1 ounce or less of marijuana at a city, county and state level.

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach (505) 920-5255 or Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Victory: Voters in Nation's Capital Legalize Marijuana!

D.C. Council Expected to Follow Voters’ Lead and Tax and Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

Congressional Interference Will Prove Politically Difficult

According to NPR and USA Today, voters in the District of Columbia have approved Initiative 71, a ballot initiative that legalizes possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 and allows individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. D.C. laws prevented the ballot initiative from addressing the taxation and sale of marijuana, but the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill that would tax, regulate and strictly control the sale of marijuana to adults.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

Tale of Two New Yorks Endures Under de Blasio as NYPD Continues Discriminatory Marijuana Arrest Crusade

From March to August Under de Blasio/Bratton, NYPD Made More Marijuana Possession Arrests than Bloomberg/Kelly in Same Period of  Previous Year

Extreme Racial Disparities Persist as Blacks and Latinos Make up 86% of Marijuana Possession Arrests, Despite Young Whites Using at Higher Rates

NEW YORK: A new report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance shows that, despite campaign promises, marijuana possession arrests under Mayor de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under Mayor Bloomberg. As under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations, these arrests are marked by shockingly high racial disparities.

Contact: gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264 or Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Race, Class and Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio's Two New Yorks: the NYPD's Marijuana Arrest Crusade Continues in 2014

October 20, 2014
Drug Policy Alliance | Marijuana Arrest Research Project

A new report documents shows that, despite campaign promises made in 2013, marijuana possession arrests under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under his predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The report includes extensive analysis of marijuana arrest and income data, showing  that overall, low income and middle class communities of color face dramatically higher rates of marijuana possession arrests than do white communities of every class bracket.

D.C. Council Votes Unanimously to Strengthen Record Sealing Laws to Relieve People with Prior Marijuana Possession Arrest

Advocates See Council Effort As Reminder of Marijuana Prohibition’s Costs and Urge Support for Initiative 71

The D.C. Council voted unanimously today in favor of a bill that would improve the process by which a person can seal criminal records pertaining to conduct that has since been decriminalized or legalized. The D.C. Council is expected to take a final vote on the bill in late October and it will then go to Mayor Vincent Gray for his review. (Laws passed by the D.C.

Contact: Dr. Malik Burnett, 443-821-0260 or Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies That Work

September 8, 2014
Global Commission on Drug Policy

This report reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Global Commission, which includes Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, and the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. They not only reiterate their demands for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches – but now also call for responsible legal regulation of currently-illegal drugs.

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